Oktibbeha County transport officer Joe Morse leads Jaylen Barker out of Lowndes County Courthouse after his arraignment Wednesday. Barker pleaded not guilty to capital murder in the case of 21-year-old Mississippi State University student Joseph Tillman. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
November 16, 2017 10:41:54 AM
Two Columbus men indicted for the 2016 murder of a Mississippi State University student pleaded not guilty in separate appearances in Lowndes County Circuit Court Wednesday.
A grand jury indicted Syboris Pippins, 19, and Jaylen Barker, 21, of capital murder in the commission of robbery last week. Pippins and Barker are accused of shooting and killing Joseph Tillman, 21, in Starkville's Cotton District on Nov. 6, 2016.
According to police, Tillman was walking along Maxwell Street when a group of suspects approached him. They interacted for a few minutes before one of the suspects attempted to rob Tillman, who chased one of the suspects before returning to confront the other three. At that point, one of the suspects allegedly shot him.
Officers with Starkville Police Department arrested Barker for murder and Pippins for robbery, charges which were later both changed to capital murder. Barker has also been charged with possession of a stolen firearm, to which he pleaded not guilty.
The suspects' trials are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29, 2018. Capital murder penalties include death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Future court proceedings in this case will likely be handled in Oktibbeha County.
Three other suspects -- 17-year-old Tyler Harris, 23-year-old Jamario Pippins and 20-year-old Brandon Sherrod -- have all been arrested for accessory after the fact after police said they fled the scene.
Tillman was a senior marketing major at MSU and a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
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